BOURNEMOUTH West MP Conor Burns has slammed Dorset CCG’s ‘concerning’ Covid-19 booster roll-out insisting that his constituents' prospects ‘remain bleak’ if nothing changes, in a letter to the Health Secretary.

In a letter to the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, Mr Burns concludes that the booster programme “in both the BCP and Dorset Council areas is unable to cope with demand”.

Figures released on Monday showed that less than half of over 50s in the Dorset and BCP Council areas have received a booster dose - less than the regional average for the south west.

Mr Burns said: “I find this alarming.

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“At a rate of 25,000 a week, and assuming no reduction during the Christmas and New Year period, it will take more than eight weeks just to vaccinate more than 200,000 over 50’s, with some not getting an appointment before February.

“The 40 plus age group now added to the booster programme could very well make it inevitable that some of my most vulnerable constituents, who may be less able to use the online system, will lose their place in the first-come/first-served queue to younger people, albeit that everyone must currently wait 152 days before booking an appointment.”

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood, last week, called for a wide-scale vaccination hub in Dorset to increase the output of jabs across the county as people reported being offered appointments across the south.

These calls have been put to the Health Secretary directly by Mr Burns, he said: “I am also hearing that people who do get through to the booking system may be offered an appointment in Exeter, Yeovil, Salisbury, Southampton or even on the Isle of Wight, but none within the county.

“These are elderly and vulnerable people who are very reluctant to undertake journeys of many miles for fears of their own safety.

He added: “I understand that there is no shortage of vaccines, so the difficulty may well be because of a shortage of people to deliver them.”

Last week it was confirmed that cases of the Omicron variant had been identified in the UK.

Mr Burns said: “I am increasingly concerned about the situation in the light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant as Christmas approaches.

He added: “The British people have been promised a much better Christmas, but for constituents whose immunity is low because they had their second jab in March or April but no booster, the prospect remains bleak.”

Dr Andy Rutland, Dorset GP and clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “We have given nearly 60 per cent of those eligible boosters as of yesterday [Monday, November 29] - I think is a pretty impressive performance on top of the business as usual that we are all doing now.

Bournemouth Echo: Dr Andy RutlandDr Andy Rutland

“There’s nothing that we are not doing it’s just additional work so we think we’ve made a pretty good effort and it does benchmark well nationally.

On top of the large scale vaccination site at Kings Park in Bournemouth, Dr Rutland also outlined plans to open another large scale vaccination site in West Dorset.